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Jan 16 (Reuters) - Solar panel installer Sungevity Inc said it has raised $125 million for expansion plans in key U.S. markets, as investors bet a steep decline in solar panel prices will encourage more homeowners to take up the technology.
The sharp price fall, driven by a glut of supply and declining government subsidies, has hurt solar panel makers like Suntech Power Holding and SunPower Corp but makes the cost of installing renewable energy cheaper.
"While overshadowed by news in the solar manufacturing sector, the downstream market, particularly residential solar, continues to experience rapid growth," Rob Davenport, managing partner of Sungevity funder Brightpath Capital Partners said in a statement.
The funding includes $40 million in equity financing raised in 2012, led by Oakland-based Brightpath and home improvement retailer Lowe's, Sungevity said. Vision Ridge Partners, Craton Equity Partners and Eastern Sun Capital Partners LLC also participated in the funding round.
The new financing will be used to support the development of solar projects across nine states including California, the biggest U.S. solar market, and New York.
Sungevity faces competition in the solar lease arena from SolarCity, the largest U.S. solar installer which listed on the Nasdaq exchange a month ago, and startup SunRun, as well as stalwart solar players such as SunPower Corp.